In Rwanda, when disgruntled citizens want to shake tables, they complain to President Paul Kagame, directly.
A mere tweet can ruffle feathers. Heads can roll if the president is tagged.
This is a common practice. President Kagame is fond of traversing in the countryside for a citizen outreach.
While there, citizens raise concerns and sometimes make serious demands on accountability and service delivery.
If the President does not have the answer, he tasks the concerned leaders to respond. If the answers are not convincing, particularly when there is clear indication of laxity on the side of the leaders, the outcomes tend to be very unpleasant.
It is a time when any leader can be fired on spot or gruesomely grilled before the public.
Ultimately, a positive result must be arrived at. If it is a contractor who has defaulted his labourers, a settlement must be arrived at right there.
If it is a promised public good, the concerned minister must explain convincingly why it has not been delivered. It could be a road or a hospital.
If it is a security concern, the police chief or army chief must not only answer, but promise it never happens again. There is no room for a compromise. Never!
In many circumstances, when explanations given do not add up, the President takes full responsibility and promises to follow up as soon as possible.
He has never failed to deliver on such promises and he has been consistent.
How is this relevant to the recent ARTICLE tittled “Kayihura, Kagame, Museveni” published by Uganda’s journalist, Andrew Mwenda?
In the article, Andrew Mwenda attempted to answer several questions. We will pick three.
One, the issue of Museveni’s role in Rwanda’s struggle, two, the reasons behind Museveni’s economic sabotage of Rwanda’s economy, and three, why is Museveni allowing enemies of Rwanda to operate in Uganda in broad day light?
Mwenda’s analysis, analogies and inferences are offensive to us Rwandans. Facts used in his analysis can not help to explain the three big questions above.
Take for example, he says, “Post-genocide Rwanda is, to a big degree, a product of Uganda, specifically Museveni. It is no exaggeration to say that without him, the liberation of Rwanda would have been a bleak possibility. Many leaders of Rwanda today were politically initiated and militarily trained in Uganda. Many aspects of the post genocide political and economic reconstruction drew heavily on lessons from Uganda.”
Consider the events unfolding in Uganda as a case study. Police is shooting dozens of civilians to death. The army is shooting, beating and torturing opposition politicians. Security officers are shot dead and never has any culprit been arrested and prosecuted. Others are poisoned and die like chicken in hospitals.
Public disobedience at its peak. Public offenders throw punches at riot police on the streets. In retaliation, Police shoots to kill or beats up everyone to cause maximum injury and lasting harm. The army has done the same, on camera.
Dozens of Rwandan citizens have been harassed in Uganda. Some have been kidnapped by Uganda’s intelligence (CMI), tortured and dumped at the border almost dropping dead. Museveni has never said a word. Never.
The cocktail of this security breakdown has caused terror, fear and instability in Uganda and the region is nursing spill-over-effects.
It is a perfect definition of anarchy, if you may.
Yet, Mwenda suggests that “Many aspects of the post genocide political and economic reconstruction [of Rwanda] drew heavily on lessons from Uganda.”
There is a lot of contradiction and fallacy in this argument. It is Mwenda himself who has written several times how Rwanda is the safest country in Africa, where security agencies score 90% plus.
Politicians are not heavily guarded in Rwanda. Police does not shoot people or the army deploying to quash civilians. It is a perfect opposite of what is taking place in Uganda.
We all know there is never a peaceful election in Uganda. From the campaigns to the voting, up to post elections; Uganda is usually in turmoil.
Not in Rwanda.
So, what lessons did post genocide Rwanda learn from Uganda that Uganda is displaying? None! Rwanda is not a copy-paste of Uganda. Everything in Rwanda is organic and purely developed from the context on ground. It is surprising and confusing Mwenda suggests Uganda inspires Rwanda. Who can buy it?
On the question of economic sabotage, Mwenda explains it well. Uganda has made it difficult for Rwanda to advance on major joint infrastructure projects. Secondly, Uganda has taken some of the meanest moves on Rwanda, such as denying RwandAir the Fifth Freedom . Who does that in this era?
Additionally, dozens of Rwandan job seekers have been arrested and deported back to Rwanda. Uganda calls them “illegal Rwandans.”
Yet, there is no better home for Ugandans away from Uganda than in Rwanda. Mechanics, medics, farmers, teachers, businessmen, etc, and they all are safe and happy.
Yes, Ugandan exports to Rwanda, according to Mwenda grew 30-folds, from $9 million in 2000 to $270 million in 2014. Such an irony!
On the question of enemies of Rwanda operating in Uganda, Mwenda confirms that Museveni is aware and made some promises to solve the issue. How in the first place did it happen that Museveni allows enemies of Rwanda to enter Uganda? How? This should be an unforgivable act.
If indeed Museveni has a historical bond between him and Rwanda and its leadership, then something must have fundamentally gone wrong for him to facilitate Rwanda’s enemies.
Earlier this year, intelligence facilitated over 40 Rwandan rebel recruits who had been mobilised from Uganda only to be intercepted by Police before they crossed to Tanzania headed to DRC for training with the plans to attack Rwanda.
Such an act taking place on the soil of a presumably closest ally means the gods have gone crazy and diplomatic ties can be spared as a matter of principle.
But, how Rwanda has remained lenient is a move that has challenged everyone’s understanding, reasons why Mwenda buys into a cooked excuse that Rwanda must be doing something sinister in return.
What Museveni did was to arrest the Police chief Gen Kale Kayihura and is now being court-martialed.
Three conclusions can be made from Mwenda’s article.
One, Mwenda is trying to defend Museveni, even when he knows well Rwanda will not swallow his arguments.
Rwandans know Museveni well enough. They can’t be told by “Rubanda” a stranger, who Museveni is and how he behaves. Time for a chat about his behaviour has not yet come. The two Presidents will chop the matters at a table at some point.
Secondly, Mwenda is trying to take responsibility from Museveni. He uses words such as Kigali vs Kampala. There also instances where Mwenda piles the blame on his subordinates.
The issue is clear. It is Museveni who should be answerable. Be it about internal matters brewing in Uganda or the mistreatment of Rwanda and Rwandans.
This article began with explaining how Kagame is answerable to everything including a broken bridge in a rural village or a defaulting employer. If Uganda’s intelligence is kidnapping and torturing Rwandans, Museveni must give Rwanda reasons and hold the CMI boss to account.
Museveni can not be defended on an issue of that magnitude. Any assumptions can be put on the table if it is done by a person of Mwenda’s intellect.
Finally, it would be a fallacious attempt to claim that Rwanda is a heaven.
We are not privy to state dealings, but we have consulted enough and we can conclude that Rwanda has no case to answer. After all, why should Rwanda answer anything if Museveni is hosting Rwanda’s enemies? Why is Museveni allowing in the French military and giving them leeway to deploy around Rwanda when he knows how this brings bad taste in Rwanda?
Museveni should not forget the Kinyarwanda proverb that: Amazi arashyuha ariko ntiyibagirwa iwabo wambeho loosely translated as “Water can boil, but it always can go back to zero degrees.”
Falling out with Rwanda and its leaders is a bad move, but good thing is, there is still room for him to fix the mess. It is just a stone-throw away.
Who knows, maybe Rwanda can help with the mess he is falling to deal with. Rwanda has helped Central Africa, Mali, Liberia, Haiti, Sudan and South Sudan. Why not Uganda?
After all, it is the same Rwandans who helped him liberate Uganda in a bloody war.